Bristol Energy Cooperative is committed to recycling revenue from our community energy business activity into community action supporting others in:
Bristol Sustainable Energy Research Fund
Working with Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy, we offer small bursaries for research on sustainable energy and climate change in the West of England.
In 2020 funding was awarded to Dr Emilia Melville and Jack Nicholls. Their research will investigate possible forms of democratic participation in Bristol City Council’s City Leap project.
In 2018 two projects were awarded funding:
Dr Jake Barnes – Energy Publics: mapping public participation in Bristol’s energy transition
Dr Elaine Forde – Fuel Stories: a community energy engagement model
More information about the projects can be found at: https://www.bserf.org.uk/
International charity donations
Climate change is a truly international issue, with some of the worst effects falling on people who are least responsible for causing it.
In 2018 we made a donation of £2,500 to Solar Aid.
In 2019 we made a donation of £2,000 to Aid Box Community in recognition of work they do supporting refugees and migrants who settle in Bristol.
Megawatt Community Energy Fund
We set up the Megawatt Community Energy Fund in 2017 as a way to help local groups find funding for carbon-reduction/environmental projects in their local community. The Fund is administered by Quartet Community Foundation and grants of up to £5,000 are typically available. In 2019 our neighbouring community energy coop Low Carbon Gordano joined us in contributing revenues into the Fund. Members of both organisations participate in choosing which applicants receive grant support.
Organisations awarded in the 2021 round of the Megawatt Community Energy Fund were:
APE Project CIC
For a Permaculture Worker to support the ‘Food for Thought’ sustainable food growing project working with children at St Pauls Adventure Playground.
Long Ashton Growers Community Cooperative
Toward the cost of installing a fruit cage enclosure so the group can maximise their fruit crop, in turn reducing the purchase by members of fruit from retailers that have a high carbon footprint.
Long Ashton Nature, Community & Environment Trust (LANCET)
To create a community wildflower meadow on former arable land leased from Bristol University’s Fenswood Farm, Long Ashton, to capture carbon, increase biodiversity and improve soil health.
Heart of BS13
To undertake a feasibility study to devise a ‘closed loop’ composting system for BS13 to make green and food waste from local households into organic compost.
Bristol Disability Equality Forum
A contribution toward the cost of additional work that expands on the group’s existing work creating a climate action plan for the disabled community in Bristol.
Weston super Mare & District Chamber Of Commerce
To provide a set of ‘curry and conversation’ events that will focus on raising awareness and understanding of climate change and improving carbon literacy to measure and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Bristol Green Capital Partnership
Toward the cost of producing a radio show and community workshop which form part of the Black and Green Ambassadors project, which seeks to connect, empower and celebrate diverse leadership and community action on environmental issues in Bristol and beyond.
Meadow Vale Community Association
A contribution toward the cost of installing solar panels on an extension to the existing community centre.
Organisations awarded in the 2020 round of the Megawatt Community Energy Fund were:
Pretoria Road Allotment Society
For the installation of water harvesting units to reduce the use of mains fed water to the site and reduce the sites carbon footprint.
Toward the production of eight Megawatt Takeover shows as part of the Green & Black Project that aim to create awareness of climate change its solutions and how to reduce its impact, targeting individuals underrepresented in the green sector, particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Community Trees Wick
Toward planting fruit trees in Brockwell Park Community Orchard to provide a source of local produce and increase carbon sequestration.
To replace strip lighting in the sports hall with easier to maintain and more energy efficient lighting as part of an overall plan for this youth service provider to become more energy efficient.
Life Cycle UK
To install cycle stands for free for community organisations/enterprises in Bristol with the aim of encouraging people to travel by bicycle.
St Werburghs Community Association
For the replacement of the main entrance lobby lighting with LED fittings to help reduce the carbon footprint and improve the sustainability of this well used community centre.
Friends of Hannah More Primary School
Toward ‘Gardening for Good’, a family project that seeks to improve the local environment and involve local people in growing produce in the centre of Bristol.
To offer conversation sessions and practical activities for vulnerable groups focusing on mitigating the effects of climate change, tackling climate change anxiety and building resilient communities.
Congresbury Scouts and Guides
Toward replacing entrance doors for the scout hut to improve its thermal efficiency as part of a wider project of reducing the carbon footprint of the scout hut.
North Somerset Enterprise Agency
Toward the development of a series of talks to raise awareness of business impact on climate and guide North Somerset small business owners in making more ethical and sustainable choices.
Groundwork South Trust
For a set of environmental awareness sessions and sustainability sessions for the benefit of Lockleaze families that will encourage families to become more environmentally aware, reduce their fuel consumption, reduce food waste, eat more locally produced food and travel more sustainably.
Somerset Film and Video Ltd
To install double glazing in the shop front windows of the group’s studio and workshop spaces which will serve to reduce the running costs of this community media centre and help to make the charity more sustainable.
A Place of Possibility
Toward the cost of replacing a gas boiler in the nursery annex of Easton Community Centre with an electric boiler connected to on-site renewable energy sources.
Southmead Development Trust
To reestablish walking groups in the Southmead area and produce a walking map that will contain information about energy saving and climate change issues.
Organisations awarded in the 2019 round of the Megawatt Community Energy Fund:
This second round was held in 2019 in partnership with neighbouring community energy cooperative Low Carbon Gordano. Bristol Energy Cooperative contributed £25,000 to this round, and 30 applications were received. Members of Bristol Energy Cooperative and Low Carbon Gordano were asked to vote for their top applications in an online poll, and the final 14 successful applications were selected by a panel of representatives of both organisations.
APE Project CIC
Toward the set-up of weekly environmental awareness sessions at the playground with a focus on improving air quality and increasing bio diversity in the local area.
Bedminster Energy Group
Toward a community asset mapping and engagement project, with the aim of improving the way the group focuses its efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption in an inclusive way.
Bristol Community Land Trust
Toward one of two ground source heat pumps that will serve a new build Community Learning and Enterprise Centre in Lockleaze Bristol.
Clevedon Community Association
Toward the cost of replacing the boiler at this well used community centre with an energy efficient model that will help reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Congresbury Scouts and Guides
For the purchase and installation of a learning thermostat to replace the group’s existing rotary thermostat and boiler programmer, that will help the group reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Crockerne Primary School
Toward the cost of installing new LED lighting fittings and bulbs at the school to help the school reduce fossil fuel consumption.
For the planting of fruit trees at community garden sites across the region, to be planted as part of an increasing urban city wide orchard, with the aim of raising awareness of climate change and reducing fossil fuel consumption by increasing local food production.
Life Cycle UK
For the cost of additional workshop equipment and parts to increase the capacity of the the Bristol Bike Back project, which provided accredited mechanical training for prisoners at HMP Bristol and sells refurbished bicycles to local people, encouraging the increased use of of low carbon transport.
Lockleaze Community Orchard
Toward the cost of installing rain water capture and storage system on a community orchard site in Lockleaze, with the aim of reducing fossil fuel consumption by reducing the distance food is transported.
Toward the cost of replacing fluorescent tube light fittings with energy efficient LED ceiling panels that will help the school to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Sea Mills Community Initiatives
Toward the cost of providing food growing after school club sessions, materials and equipment to set-up a permaculture focused forage garden trail and hot composting at the community garden site that will serve the local community cafe, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and helping reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Toward the cost of a pilot set of open access sessions to teach and promote re-use skills, especially sewing and upcycling, with the aim of reducing energy demands and fostering a culture of self-help and re-use
Toward the production of a set of a monthly radio shows exclusively devoted to environmental issues as they impact on Black and Minority Ethnic populations, that aim to raise awareness of climate change, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and reduce fuel poverty.
Willsbridge Mill Community Refresh
Toward the cost of a feasibility study for installing a mini hydro scheme at the mill, with the aim of raising awareness of ways to reduce the impact of climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Organisations awarded in the 2017 round of the Megawatt Community Energy Fund:
The first round of Bristol Energy Cooperative’s Megawatt Community Energy Fund closed in September 2017. It received over 30 applications, with up to £50,000 available. The successful projects were selected by a member vote and panel:
To deliver a series of 4 energy awareness feasts that will promote and facilitate community action in relation to energy issues in the Lockleaze area.
The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project (Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts)
Toward staffing costs to support the continuation and expansion of the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project, providing heat surveys which enable local residents to reduce domestic heat loss to achieve warmer homes and a cooler planet.
Redcatch Community Garden
Toward the cost of a poly-tunnel, volunteer costs and overheads for this community garden which grows and sells food locally, and promotes healthy and sustainable eating in the Knowle area.
To work in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy to provide Energy Awareness Days for older women from the South Asian community and provide translations of energy efficiency information that can be shared with other community groups.
Hartcliffe Health & Environment Action Group
Toward the cost of the Re-create workshops, working in the Hartcliffe area to provide a series of community art and crafts sessions focusing on re-purposing waste or second-hand materials. The sessions will help introduce people to small creative steps they can make to have a positive environmental impact in their home and local community.
Toward the cost of continuing the re:draught scheme, providing heat surveys for 10 households and energy efficiency advice to a separate 50 households in the Knowle West area.
Southville Community Development Association
To install solar panels at the the Chessel Community Centre, based in Southville.
APE Project CIC
For the annual cost of an apprentice, to support the Children’s Bike Exchange (CBE) in St Paul’s Adventure Playground. The CBE fixes and safety checks unwanted children’s bikes which can then be swapped for free or at a very low cost for outgrown or damaged kids bikes in the community
Bristol Community Land Trust
Toward the cost of support from Bioregional’s BEPIT team to enhance the monitoring, training and learning from Bristol Community Land Trust’s affordable low carbon community housing project in Lockleaze.
South Gloucestershire Citizens Advice Bureau
To provide specialist energy information and advice to vulnerable people in South Gloucestershire, and a range of interventions aimed at reducing energy use and fuel poverty.
Local partners – Ambition Lawrence Weston
Income from our Lawrence Weston Solar Farm is being shared with the local community through Ambition Lawrence Weston, (ALW), a resident-driven organisation striving to make Lawrence Weston an even better place to live and work. When BEC was raising funds to build the solar farm in 2016 it took out a “blended loan” from Social and Sustainable Capital. As part of this loan arrangement ALW received a £155,000 grant from Power to Change. ALW described this funding as transformational. It enabled it to apply for and win additional funding for housing and a new community and health hub in the local area.
We continue to contribute revenue from the solar farm to ALW each year. ALW has used these funds to run intern-led projects on fuel poverty, co-ordinating energy surveys for residents, and supporting them to switch energy supplier. It also employed an energy consultant to lead on a local community-owned wind project. This received widespread community support and led ALW to set up Ambition Community Energy (ACE) CIC. In August 2020 Bristol City Council granted ACE CIC planning permission for a single wind turbine in Avonmouth with a tip height of up to 150m. If constructed this will be the tallest onshore wind turbine in England.
“May I take this opportunity to give our thanks and appreciation to you, your board, and your shareholders for your financial contribution again this year. This funding and your support is changing the lives of many here in Lawrence Weston for the better” – Mark Pepper, Development Manager ALW.